John Steinbeck

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Writers Biographies
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John Steinbeck

A Biography by Cynthia Gu

One doesn’t have to drive down central California pacific coast to see the rich farm land of sailas, feel the seaside wind, or learn the 1930s-60s culture. John Steinbeck’s numerous books’ settings take place in america’s sunny state, educating us about previously inherited culture and habits. This classic american author wrote in the perspective of people that the rest of society choose to overlook, such as Of Mice and Men’s dust bowl outcasts, Tortilla Flat’s unemployed paisanos, and Cannery Row’s cannery workers living of on a small wage. His forty one-year-career as an author produced around twenty pieces of literature (novels, short story collections, non-fiction, plays). Many of Steinbeck’s works are considered classics of American literature for authentic depictions of american history.This poster shall walk you through John Steinbeck’s life as a farmer, best friend, (ex)husband, life-long smoker, and most importantly an author.

John Steinbeck's life, like all of our lives, was heavily influenced by many people. Some of them models of his book characters, teaching lessons to the readers that they taught him in the first place.

John was born on February 27th 1902 in Salinas California the setting of majority of his books. He was the first and last child of John Ernst Steinbeck, and Olive Hamilton. The Steinbeck's were considerably wealthy family of german, english and irish descent. John’s father being Monterey county’s treasurer and his mother a school teacher. He was a shy and private boy and as he aged, man.His birthplace, Salinas valley had made a significant impact on Steinbeck's writing. The smells, the sounds, the sights was home to him. Steinbeck's detailed descriptions of this fertile sea-side valley in his novels are the produce of his love for his hometown.

2. Life on the Ranch (1914-1933)

As a teenager he spent summers working on nearby ranches, then eventually with migrant workers on Spreckel’s sugar beet farm (both in the field and in the lab). The difficulties of farm life shown in his many novels was based off of personal experience such as East of Eden, Grapes of Wrath, and Cannery Row. John’s exposure of human nature’s dark side, plus the harsh file of migrant workers that he worked with is written in his works.John grew up sharing his passion of literature with his mother. At the age of 14 he decided that he wants to be an author. After graduating from Salinas high school in 1919, Steinbeck went to study english literature at Stanford University in Palo Alto leaving without a degree in 1925 thusly ending his academic career.The next four turbulent years to come Steinbeck concentrated on writing, moving to the US (New York City, NY) without success. There were little publishers that appreciated his work. Even after three of his novels Cup of Gold (1929), The Pastures of Heaven (1932), and The Red Pony (1933)-- Steinbeck’s name was still unknown.

3. Odds and Ends(1934-1946)

5. Death (1968)

ED RICKETTSA close friend, he strongly influenced Steinbeck's writing.Ricketts frequently took small trips with him along the california coast to give himself time off from his writing to collect biological specimens that he sold for a living. The two men wrote a book about a collecting expedition to the gulf of california in 1940 part travelogue part natural history published as the US entered WW2 so it didn't sell well. Ricketts was Steinbecks model for Doc in Cannery Row, friend Ed in burning bright, and some characters in In Dubious Battle/ The Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck’s writing declined after Rickett’s untimely death in 1948

PARENTSFather: helped him finacialyMother: fostered his love of literatuire, reading and writing

GWYN Steinbeck's second wife. She was the mother of two only his sons.

CAROL Steinbeck's first wife. She was very involved at the beginning of his career, much like a secratery. She provided editorial advice, unwavering support and hours of commitment typing his hand-written notes into finished drafts.

Who?

Main Characters

His Chapters of Life

John then met his first of three wives Carol henning, whom he got married to in 1930. She became the model for character Mary Talbot in Cannery Row. 1930 was also the year he met his closest friend-- Ed Ricketts, a philosophical and biological mentor to Steinbeck for the decade to come.Two years later, after moving back to California and publishing his successful novel Tortilla Flat in 1935, the author then earns a living by working odd jobs such as a carpenter, ranch hand, factory laborer, sales clerk, caretaker and reporter. His parents supported him both morally and financially so that he would develop his writing skills without having to look for work-- which he did! And yet unfortunately right before his fame broke in 1939 with The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck suffered the loss of both his parents.Steinbeck worked alongside with Ricketts while still writing, operating a biological lab on the coast of Monterey selling samples to schools and colleges. After his relationship with Carol fell apart in 1940, so did the relationship between him and Ricketts since Steinbeck moves. Just a year later he married Gwendolyn conger whom he had two sons with; Thomas (Thom) Myles Steinbeck (1944-present) and John Steinbeck IV (1946-1991).

Nobel Prize Speech

Ed Ricketts

1. Born and Raised in Salinas(1902-1913)

Interveiw with Steinbeck

John Steinbeck died in New York City on December 20, 1968 at the age of 66, of heart disease and congestive heart failure being a lifelong smoker.The day after Steinbeck's death in New York City, reviewer Charles Poore wrote in the New York Times stated that: "John Steinbeck's first great book was his last great book. But Good Lord, what a book that was and is: The Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck didn't need the Nobel Prize— the Nobel judges needed him."

What was one of america’s most beloved and honored writers upbringings like? Where did Steinbeck’s first steps take place, all the way up to when his compassionate depictions of the human condition sell more than seven hundred thousand copies per year?

ELAINESteinbeck's third wife. The two were very bonded, and remained together for the rest of his life, and finaly cremated and buired next to each other in Salinas Valley.

Elaine S.

Raising his children and writing more novels such as Cannery Row (1945), The Wayward Bus (1947) and The Pearl (1947), Steinbeck was surprised to hear that Ed Ricketts was hit by a train in May 1948. Ricketts died hours before John arrived back to California. Going back home with the death of his closest friend in his mind, his wife confronts him and asks for a divorce. The following year Steinbeck lived in deep depression.After meeting Elaine Scott, a stage-manager in Carmel CA in June and marrying in December of 1950 John recovered from his deep depression. After his final marriage John starts to write much more non-fiction novels such as Travels with Charley: In Search of America (1962) and American Americans (1966). The Nobel Prize in Literature 1962 was awarded to John Steinbeck "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception".

Steinbeck House

4. His Depression (1947-1967)


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